Thinking and Sensing, Space and Time

Philosophy and science can be distinguished: the former is primarily concerned with thinking, the latter with sensing. This distinction is superficial, however, since there can be no pure science or pure philosophy; no pure concept or pure intuition. Phenomenologically, what exists is an interpenetration of cognitive action and carnal reaction, a vast network of felt contrasts between future-directed mind and past-detected matter (the feeling and the felt). Matter is always already differentiating and so taking on form, and difference is always already materializing and so becoming other than its form. The real is the different–which is not to challenge the metaphysical status of the principle of non-contradiction by wedging contradiction into the heart of the Absolute, but to affirm this principle by thinking the Absolute as a differentiating process that never exists as a whole in an instant and so cannot be in contradiction. Difference becomes without contradiction, which is why wholes can endure as parts of other wholes. If time froze, there would not even be nothing, since nothing is still a difference and so always having to re-conceive of itself as not being so.

Experience is not only the present-at-hand representation of objects (as in conscious creatures), it is also the ready-to-hand prehension of dying subjectivities. I cognitively grasp things in space only after things have aesthetically grasped me in time. Light gave rise to the eye in the living time of evolution; only afterward did physical space take on depth. Consciousness emerges in the non-contradictory difference between space and time, between presence/distance and past/future.


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